25 Mar

Vital Maintenance Tasks to Complete Before Your Spring Road Trip

As the spring road trip season approaches, the time has come to complete the maintenance needed to prepare your vehicle. Proper maintenance gives your vehicle’s moving parts the support they need to keep going mile after mile. You can protect many different systems, including your entire engine, by performing important maintenance tasks at the recommended intervals. Through these efforts, you can help prevent parts from failing and interrupting your travels this spring, summer and beyond. Here are some things to help you get started.

Oil Change and Filter Check

Most vehicles have four filters that you absolutely must check and replace on a regular basis: engine air filter, oil filter, cabin air filter and fuel filter. When the engine’s air, oil and fuel filters get filthy, they may start to allow contaminants to pass into your engine, eventually causing damage to the internal parts.

You can prevent this issue by having all three filters replaced at the service interval indicated by your vehicle manufacturer. When replacing the oil filter, it is also necessary to drain the old fluid and replace with fresh oil to keep the engine’s internals well lubricated.

The cabin air filter does not directly impact the function of your vehicle, but it does have an impact on your comfort. With the replacement of this filter, you can dramatically freshen up the air inside the cabin space, making your travels much more comfortable for all.

Belt and Hose Replacement

The belts and hoses connected to your engine components need to stay in great shape to keep your vehicle running strong. If your belts fail, your vehicle may not be able to properly cool your engine, charge your battery or run any of your accessories. When hoses fail, the problem could be much worse, with coolant leaking all over the engine bay and ground. You can easily prevent this issue by having your belts and hoses checked and replaced as needed before the road trip season arrives.

Tire Pressure Check and Rotation

To get the most out of your tires, you must have them regularly rotated to keep them wearing evenly throughout the life of the set. When you rotate the tires to different corners of the car, you keep the tires from developing areas of excessive wear. The frequency of the tire rotation services you acquire will depend on the exact needs of your vehicles and the type of tires you have.

Although it might seem like a small thing, tire pressure really matters. If you under or overinflate your tires, you could end up causing them to wear too quickly and in all the wrong areas. Keeping the pressure at the right level will help your tires wear evenly, reducing the chance of flats or blowouts.  

Brake Inspection and Repairs

Before you go anywhere, it is so important that you first make sure you can stop the car, especially in an emergency situation. You can have a brake inspection performed at the beginning of the road trip season to help ensure that your vehicle is stopping as quickly and efficiently as possible. It is not always easy to tell if your vehicle needs brake pads or shoes by feel alone. You must have your brake components visually inspected and measured using precise equipment to see if you are good to go.

When you pay close attention to the above areas, you can prep your car and head out on your road trips with confidence. Make the most of your spring and summer travels by having your car checked out and maintained by your trusted auto tech.

20 Mar

Get it right, buy the right ply (rating).

I have an admission.  I have been in the Tire business for 35 years.  I can still recall in my early years of the business that we kept our entire inventory on roughly 12 legal size pages comprising about 60 sizes or so.  Nowadays, some power lines (industry jargon) have even more than that.  The Cooper Discoverer AT3 (4S, LT, and XLT) currently sits at a combined 91 unique part numbers.  That’s a lot for a professional, but for the lay person, it can be daunting to buy the right tire.  Ultimately, we want you to buy the correct product and have a happy experience.   

Let’s take a 265/70R17 .  This size is made in multiple load ranges.  This is a four-ply tire used on 1/2 ton applications, such as Expeditions, Tahoe’s, F150, Silverado 1500’s, etc.  This tire is also made in an LT265/70R17 that fits on  ¾ and 1 ton applications, for example:  F250, Ram 3500, or Silverado 3500.  There is a huge difference between the weight the two types of tires can carry. 

Before you purchase your tires, please check the vehicle’s placard and verify the size, service description and load range to ensure you are buying the right product.  The service description will follow the tire size:

265/70R17 115T – it is the 115T on this 4 ply, Standard Load example.

LT265/70R17 121R – it is the 121R on this 10 ply, E Load Range example.

265/75R16 116T – it is the 116T on this 4 ply, Standard Load example.

LT265/75R16 123R – it is the 123R on this 10 ply, E Load Range example.

These are examples, your vehicle may vary.  The tire sizes and descriptions are very similar, but they are very different tires.

One of the other concerns occurs during upsizing/changing the original size is how much air pressure (PSI, pounds per square inch) the tire can take.  Vehicles nowadays come with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) that require your tires to be set within a specified PSI range for your vehicle.  There are many lift up sizes that are 10ply load range E, but no longer meet the air pressure requirement of the vehicle and go only to 65 psi.  Manufacturers such as Toyo and Nitto have created load range F tires in their lift up sizes to accommodate the higher pressure and load requirements. 

The key takeaway from this is to check the vehicle placard to ensure you purchase the proper tire for your vehicle.  Not only purchasing the size correctly, but the purchasing the correct size that has the correct ply rating and air pressure range.  Remember, you can always call us M-F 8-5 at 888-396-5261 if you are unsure you are selecting the correct tire.

19 Mar

4 Awesome Automotive Statues You Must See to Believe

If you want to jazz up your summer road trips with a celebration of everything automotive, you can stop by some of the most popular car-centric sculptures found across the nation. These sculptures showcase the automobile, or what’s left of it, in new and interesting ways. The vehicles and their parts appear in various states as celebrations of beauty, historical records, societal critiques and so much more. To decide what these works of art mean to you, and truly appreciate them in all their glory, you must jot them down on your road trip itinerary for an up close and personal visit. 

Cadillac Ranch

In the heart of Amarillo, Texas, you can find a row of 10 gorgeous classic Cadillacs with their noses in the ground and tailfins to the sky. These brightly-painted cars show the evolution of the iconic tailfin as it changed from 1949 to 1963. As an installation by the art group, Ant Farm, these cars were intended to reflect the design of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Over the years, these cars have undergone multitudes of paint jobs to celebrate different occasions. The creators now encourage travelers to add their own personal touches, turning these cars into canvases for anyone who comes along.

Cadillac Ranch, west of Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch, west of Amarillo, Texas http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadillac_Ranch

Trans Am Totem

As one part celebration of the automotive world and one part social commentary on consumer culture, the Trans Am Totem has a lot to say despite its relatively small footprint. Standing as a permanent installation for the Vancouver Biennale, this 33-foot statue consists of five stacked automobiles atop a large cedar tree trunk. At the top of the stack proudly sits the Pontiac Trans Am, looking the most complete of the bunch. The BMW, Honda, Volkswagen and Mercedes that sit beneath the Pontiac gradually show how the automobile tends to devolve into a sad state of disrepair. Take what you will from this work of art, but its impressive construction alone is worth a look.

W’eel Turtle

As a nod to one of the most important parts of the automobile, wheels play a major role in the creation of the W’eel Turtle in Dunseith, North Dakota. More than 2,000 steel rims make up this enormous turtle statute that stands 18 feet high and more than 40 feet in length. The contrast between fast and slow, turtles and wheels, can’t but help to stand out as you gave upon this wonder. The artist intended to create a monument that honored the nearby Turtle Mountains State Park, however. Whatever this monument means to you will become clear as your road trip takes you to the literal foot of this statue.

W'eel the turtle by  Terry Robinson
W’eel the turtle – photo by Terry Robinson

Carhenge

As a replica of Stonehenge, Carhenge in Alliance, Nebraska, creates a link between the modern world and the artifacts left behind by past societies. Created by Jim Reinders in 1987, this work of art consists of 38 cars and trucks arranged perfectly as an exact copy of Stonehenge in its current state. Although not planned, the 2017 solar eclipse brought this installation to life as it passed over Carhenge with 4,000 people standing in awe. Although there are so many ways to perceive the meaning of this installation, Reinders built it as a memorial to his beloved dad. As additional works of art were erected onsite, the location gained the name of the Car Art Reserve. 

What each of these amazing automotive statutes mean to you may wildly differ from what the artists were going for – and what other people see. But you can only know with a visit to these top spots, so you can set your gaze on the wondrous sights before you.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carhenge_DSC_0290_(6228332059).jpg
Carhenge by Dick Clark [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]
5 Mar

Understanding Tire Pressure Fluctuations – and How Often to Check Your Tires

Each type and size of tires has an optimal pressure rating range that promotes the best balance of performance, fuel efficiency and tire life. You have to keep a close eye on your tire pressures to ensure they remain in the right range to continue enjoying the benefits. Pressures that are too low or too high can result in uneven wear and tread separation, dramatically reducing the life of your tires. Utilize this guide to better understand tire pressure fluctuations – and how often to check your tires.

Causes of Tire Pressure Changes

When the air inside your tires heats up or cools down, the internal pressures fluctuate as well. As temperatures outside heat up, tire pressure tends to increase by one PSI for every increase of 10 degrees Fahrenheit. As temperatures cool down, tire pressure decreases in a similar manner. Small air leaks from the valve stem or a tread puncture can also cause the tire pressures to change.

When to Check Your Tire Pressure

If you have a newer vehicle, the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can keep you informed about the current state of your tires. This system will also give you a warning if the tire pressure drops more than 25 percent. As with older vehicles, you should still manually check your tire pressure every time you fill up at the gas station. With a quick check using a tire gauge, you can confirm that your TPMS system is still operating currently and tire pressure remains at the right level.

If you notice your tire pressure is outside the ideal range, you can add or remove air to keep your tires properly inflated. With the right level of care, your tires can take you on all your travels without a hitch. To explore your tire upgrade options, explore our online store and see what we have available at Tire Crawler.